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Gap year from a parent's viewpoint
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Allfurcoatandnoknickers · 11/01/2016 07:31

My 18yo son has deferred his Uni place to start in September and is off travelling until the end of July. He's worked hard to save for his ticket, and will be working for 3 months in Australia to finance his second part of the trip.
Has anyone got any tips at all? I'm feeling apprehensive about the first part of the trip in Thailand, but also how to support our very sad 12yo who is going to miss her big brother as they are very close.
I've asked him to set up a Dropbox account for his photos so we can all see what he's doing, and FaceTime once a week, any other ideas?

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Drinkstoomuchcoffee · 11/01/2016 07:37

DN did a gap year travelling around South America a few years ago. Before he went, he did a self defence/ travel prep course which covered being sensible, first aid, difficult terrain, assault etc. it gave many of the messages that parents would give, but he was more receptive to outside advice. DS thought it was money well spent for her own peace of mind.

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N3wYear2016 · 11/01/2016 08:30

Very lucky

Recommend health injections before going

Travel insurance

A source of emergency money

Keep "your wits about you" for thieves and scammers in all countries

Travel light (dont take too much stuff) you can buy clothes when travelling if need to

Thailand is easy & cheap to travel. There are loads of people of all ages travelling there, but alot of youngsters
If you eat near locals £1, shared room £6
There are walk in doctors pay as you go

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fembear · 11/01/2016 08:49

Yay, go him!
DD did a similar thing, went on her own. She absolutely loved it. I worried, naturally, but she was safe because she was sensible. Tell him to be sensible too: no doing silly stunts like diving in shallow water or fire jumping. DD knows someone who did silly stunts and ended up with broken bones and a cut-short tour. She managed to have loads of fun and loads of experiences without being a dick.
There are lots of people out there so loads of friendly faces at backpackers hostels. The hostels all have wi-fi so he can contact you easily.

Arrange a 'safe' word so he can send you a coded message if he is in trouble. We never had to use ours.

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magimedi · 11/01/2016 08:59

Don't be too rigid about contact - eg Facetime once a week. If you have a set time for it & he misses it you will be getting worried & the reason for him not doing it is likely to be that his phone is out of charge or he's somewhere with no signal etc etc.

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Allfurcoatandnoknickers · 11/01/2016 09:15

Thanks for the helpful advice everyone! I think the safe word is a good idea, and we are pretty much covered for injections, insurance, phone etc., etc.,.
Also magimedi, I think that's true about being rigid with FaceTime, but from previous experience when he's away anywhere, he's hopeless at keeping in touch at all, and often we have no contact at all. It was more a 'check in', and wouldn't be a fixed time, or I'd go nuts with worry!!

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Peebles1 · 11/01/2016 17:15

Careful with the bank/money side of things. Our DS went to Chile. All his savings were in Santander, who he informed before he left. He was there a year and never once managed to access that bank account! His little Yorkshire account did work, however. We arranged, by rather devious means, access to his non working account online (he hadn't set this up before he left) and transferred the money over. So put something in place to allow you access before he goes, and make sure he has two or more accounts. It probably would've been easier to ask someone who was out there in advance which banks work. Just make sure you sort some contingency plan before he goes. For the record, it's been the making of my DS.

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